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News Releases

Truman Library Institute and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City to Inaugurate Truman and Israel Lecture | April 7, 2016

 Ambassador Dennis Ross to Deliver Keynote Address on May 9

The inaugural Truman and Israel Lecture will be presented at 7 p.m. on May 9 at the Truman Forum Auditorium, located within the Kansas City Public Library’s Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.

Ambassador Dennis RossThe keynote address will be delivered by Ambassador Dennis Ross, a scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy. The program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-come basis; attendees are strongly encouraged to RSVP.

The Truman and Israel Lecture was established by the Truman Library Institute and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City (JCF) to explore Truman’s courageous decision to recognize the State of Israel and the tremendous impact that this decision had on world history.

The inaugural event also will feature remarks by President Truman’s eldest grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel.

“My grandfather was both humbled and honored by the role he played in the founding of Israel 68 years ago,” said Daniel, who serves as the honorary Chair of the Truman Library Institute. “He would be very pleased to know that there is now a lecture series dedicated both to examining the history of this decision and to fostering a robust dialogue regarding the policies and leadership required for a lasting peace in the Middle East.”

In announcing the new lecture, JCF Board of Trustees President Irvin V. Belzer said, “President Truman’s decision to recognize the State of Israel solidified the bond between the two countries and legitimized what had previously only existed in the hearts and minds of the Jewish community. The Jewish Community Foundation is honored to partner with the Truman Library Institute to acknowledge and reflect upon this vital historic event on an ongoing basis.”

Truman Library Institute Executive Director Alex Burden added, “Truman’s recognition of Israel is regarded by presidential historians as one of the most courageous executive decisions in America’s history. Few understand this as well as Ambassador Ross, who for the past 12 years has played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East. The event is an extraordinary opportunity for Kansas City, especially in light of the November presidential elections.”

Truman and IsraelAmbassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.

Ambassador Ross is the author of several influential books on the peace process, most recently Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama. An earlier study, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004), offers comprehensive analytical and personal insight into the Middle East peace process. The New York Times praised his 2007 publication, Statecraft, And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), as “important and illuminating.”

The Truman Library Institute is the member-supported, nonprofit partner of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, one of 13 presidential libraries of the National Archives. Together with its federal partner, the Truman Library Institute draws on President Truman’s legacy to enrich the public’s understanding of history, the presidency, and America’s unique form of government. This mission is achieved through world-class museum exhibits, research grants, public programming and nationally acclaimed education programs serving more than 35,000 students and teachers annually. For a complete calendar of events, membership opportunities, current museum exhibitions and educational offerings, please visit or call (816) 268-8246.

Since 1959, the Jewish Community Foundation has been at the forefront of charitable giving in Kansas City. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and community organizations to help them achieve their philanthropic goals and to increase current and future support for a vibrant and secure Jewish community in Kansas City, Israel and around the world. In the past twenty years, Foundation funds have provided support to local and national charities totaling nearly $250 million. For more information, please contact the Jewish Community Foundation at (913) 327-8245 or visit

Editors and reporters: To inquire about advance interview opportunities or event media passes, please contact Truman Library Institute communications director Susan Medler at (816) 268-8245 or